The John Sterling conundrum


John Sterling, left, is everywhere he shouldn't be. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Few members of the Yankee organization generate as much vehement debate as John Sterling. The so-called radio voice of the Yankees is either beloved by those who enjoy his colorful descriptions of the game or hated by those who can’t stand his theatrics. As the old saying in New York goes, the Yanks play two games: the one on the field and the one John Sterling calls.

Over the last few years, we’ve debated John Sterling now and then. Most fans seem to view him as that mildly annoying guy that everyone tolerates but few truly embrace, and over the course of the season, it’s mostly a moot point. I’m not exposed to Sterling on a very regular basis, and neither are too many fans.

This week, though, Sterling aroused the ire of the sports media watchers who obsess over the Yankees. During the team’s appearance at the White House, Sterling, as the above picture shows, was front and center as President Obama toasted the Yankees. Afterwards, everyone was fairly appalled. Columinists Phil Mushnick and Neil Best along with Pinstripe Prophets’ blogger Charlie DeBiase all took Sterling to task for making Monday’s ceremony more about him than it should have been.

“Looking like a wax figure,” Mushnick wrote, “Sterling was posed and positioned so perfectly and prominently in the Yankees/President photos and videos you’d have recalled that he made the catch on Bill Mazeroski to end the 1960 World Series, then, in 1996, sold his playoff seats to Jeffrey Maier’s dad.”

While Best excused the team for not thinking clearly and simply arranging everyone in height order, the Newsweek media watcher urged the team to consider who is truly important to the team’s success. “I have no doubt they are valued members of the Yankees’ extended family,” he wrote. “But it was an awkward look, one players who were out of the frame could not have appreciated.”

Therein lies the rub. John Sterling is, for better or worse, a member of the Yanks’ extended family, but he comes across, according to many in the industry who have met him in various capacities, as thinking that his histrionics are responsible for the team’s success. If he didn’t have an outlandish home run call for the Yanks’ sluggers or if he didn’t make every fly ball “high….far…..and caught at the warning track,” the team wouldn’t win. But he’s not that important to the team. He’s just the guy that keeps people entertained while they’re driving in the car, sitting outside on a warm day or making a pit stop in the bathroom for a few pitches during some inning in the game.

Maybe that’s why I personally have never warmed up to Sterling. The game is about the guys on the field; it’s not about him. But on the radio and at the White House too, it’s always about him.

Edit by RAB: This post was updated at 11:41 p.m. with more information on sourcing.

Categories : Musings
  • Anksy

    I cant believe he’s right behind the president. You just cant predict photography!


    • http://www.thenovablog.com Jamie


    • Jim Kane

      We all know that every club has always had a “Homer” in the booth; Phil Rizzuto an admitted one. While they are not easy to listen to for opposing fans, the majority manage to not offend & nauseate their own fan base. Sterling is a glaring exception. Absolutely nauseating and an embarassment to the Yankees & their fans. I won’t listen while driving, which I had always enjoyed.

  • nathan

    I found it really odd to even see him in the picture, it was weird that he got the ‘key to the city’ when the Yanks won it, but this was odd. Do all teams include their TV and Radio voices in the picture? I also saw Kay in the 3rd row

  • Ben S

    Personally, I like him. He has absolutely no filter and says whatever comes to mind, regardless of whether or not it has to do with the game. I can see why this peeves others, but I’m not taking the game seriously enough to actually get upset if he says something dumb.

    • http://www.thenovablog.com Jamie

      I’d say change the second part of Ben’s sentence to “the game inside Sterling’s mind”

      • Mister Delaware

        Does he trail the game inside his mind by 3 seconds as well? Because I can’t be the only one who is sick of having to listen to fan reactions if I want to immediately know what’s happening while listening to 880.

  • A.D.

    I found it was odd that he was there, but given the Yankees/White House invited him, bit unnecessary to go off on Sterling for being in the photo, according to the articles he didn’t do more than stand there, nor did he necessarily weasel into the frame, he was told to come, and told where to stand.

    I agree that I don’t think the announcers should be there, but they also shouldn’t be blamed for being there, if any of these columnists were invited, they sure as hell would have gone.

    • Zack

      Yeah, seems like they’re trying to make an issue out of nothing.
      You’re at the White House while the Yankees are meeting the President, and you’re focused on John Sterling?

    • mko

      I agree 100%.

  • http://www.teamnerdrage.com dr mrs the yankee

    I would just like for him to stop calling non-looper curveballs sliders. Is that so much to ask?

    • A.D.

      I would like to stop the “its high, its far, its caught in rf a few steps away from the track” Seriously, it’s fine to be fooled once in awhile, but not every decent fly ball.

      • Will

        It’s like perpetually sitting next to someone at a game who gasps every time a fly ball is hit to an infielder because it went really high.

      • http://www.teamnerdrage.com dr mrs the yankee

        Well see we already know that is too much to ask, it’s like his trademark. He probably thinks it’s a good thing.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Mayor of the Draft

    John Sterling is, for better or worse, a member of the Yanks’ extended family, but he comes across as thinking that his histrionics are responsible for the team’s success.

    He does?

    If he didn’t have an outlandish home run call for the Yanks’ sluggers or if he didn’t make every fly ball “high….far…..and caught at the warning track,” the team wouldn’t win.

    He thinks that? Sorry to nitpick, but is there some evidence of that, of Sterling thinking that he’s somehow an integral part of the team’s success? If there is, I missed it, I’m sorry.

    • A.D.

      Agreed, perhaps I’ve missed it, but I haven’t seen this super self-absorbed John Sterling that thinks he drives the Yankees success.

      • Will

        The only thing Sterling is driven by… is Jeep.

        • http://www.thenovablog.com Jamie

          Are you in good hands?

        • http://yanksgoyard.com Andy_C_23


        • Slu


          This comment is coming to you from the Lowe’s Comment Box.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Mayor of the Draft

            Let’s build something… together.


            I LIVE, I RIDE, I AM!
            I LIVE, I RIDE, I AM!

    • http://yanksgoyard.com Andy_C_23


      Maybe it’s because I don’t listen to him too often, but, when I do, I enjoy listening to him. Me thinks Sterling gets a bad rap.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Mayor of the Draft

        Woah, slow down. I didn’t go that far.

        I think Sterling sucks balls, and should be relieved of his duties post-haste. He’s a horridly craptastic radio announcer. No amount of folksy charm can mask the fact that he can’t call a game to save his life.

        I was just objecting to the unfounded allegation that he somehow thinks he’s partially responsible for the team’s good fortunes. There’s no evidence of that (that I know of). You don’t need to make shit up to shit on John Sterling, the bare facts are enough to accomplish a solid poop-job.

        • http://yanksgoyard.com Andy_C_23

          Sorry, I didn’t mean to put words in your mouth.

          And while I don’t agree with what you say, I’ll fight to the death your right to say it.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Mayor of the Draft

            And while I don’t agree with what you say, I’ll fight to the death your right to say it.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhnUgAaea4M (NSFW-profanity)

        • LI Kevin

          When I saw the picture, I thought of the song “One of these things is not like the other”.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      That sense comes from meeting him and talking to numerous people who have met him. That’s generally sense of Sterling as a person that those who know him in that context have.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Mayor of the Draft

        Okay, gotcha.

        Some public corroboration would be nice, but I guess it’s hard to come by. We’ll have to take your word for it (or choose not to, I suppose).

        • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

          Yes, I realize the sourcing is a bit sketchy, and I didn’t explain myself. But I’ve spoken with a handful of people who have that reaction to Sterling after having conversations with him about his role with the team. Maybe it’s something every radio announcer does to cope with the 162-day grind, but it’s definitely part of Sterling’s thing, it seems.

          • Jason from The Heartland

            I wrote my response, then saw these comments. Thanks for the clarification, Ben and, if true about Sterling, would be odd and unfortunate–and against the grain of much of what he says on the air.

      • A.D.

        Fair enough, I have never gotten the opportunity to meet him, or know people that have.

    • Jason from The Heartland

      I agree with tommiesmithjohncarlos on this point, Ben. I think that part of your otherwise good piece is a real stretch. Sterling lays on the histrionics, but is also quite self-effacing about many things, and has to the best of my recollection neither said nor acted as if he and his histrionics in any way produced the Yankees’ success. In fact, Sterling expressly rails against believing in superstitions or other things extraneous to what occurs on the field.

      As an out-of-market fan, I’ve subscribed to Gameday Audio and MLB.TV for several years, and overall I like Sterling and not felt that I’ve missed too much when listening instead of watching. His home run calls can become tiresome, and I think he needs to develop a home run call that gives him more wiggle room than the presumptuous “It is high…” does when balls are eventually caught. One thing I like about him is that, while he clearly wants the Yanks to win, he is far less overt a homer than many other announcers who openly cheer for their teams; Hawk Harrelson and Darrin Jackson of the White Sox being prime offenders. Sterling is quick to praise excellent plays by non-Yankees, showing an appreciation for the game that makes tolerating his over-the-top calls easier.

    • Klemy

      I agree with Tommie’s comments here.

      I think it’s a pretty big jump to the statements made in the article. It sounds to me, like a hate article more than anything else.

      I get stuck listening to him when I’m at work for afternoon games. I dislike a lot of his calls, but I think he has a good voice for the game. I’d rather complain about Susan, than him. He’s not my Vin Scully, but I find him less annoying than some others.

  • dc1874

    Sterling is in it for ONE person..that person being John Sterling..

  • Will

    When I moved last September, I had about a week before my cable was hooked up, with nothing to do but listen to Sterling while I organized. It got to be a bit maddening, but come opening day, I realized I kinda missed his voice. Like Stockholm Syndrome.

    • Thomas

      I agree with you. While Sterling is annoying, I definitely miss him if he wasn’t the radio voice of the Yankees.

      • TheZack

        No. YOu wouldn’t. Because pretty much ANYONE they replaced him with would do a better job by far of calling the game.

  • dc1874

    Somewhere there is a copy of his contract that will prove he is being paid per word spoken during a ballgame…

  • Bronx Ralphie

    John Sterling is the absolute worst announcer in Yankee history. “it is high, it is far, it is…….popped up to the catcher.” what did he do to become the voice of the yankees? we all know Waldman used to take care of Steinbrenner under the desk if you know what I mean but what the hell did Sterling do?

    • Will

      “we all know Waldman used to take care of Steinbrenner under the desk if you know what I mean”

      Clipping his toenails? Massaging his calfs?

      One thing I’ll say in Sterling’s favor: while he’s an obvious homer, he doesn’t shit on the opposing team like other announcers seem to do. He seems to get legitimately excited when the other teams do something, usually giving opposing batters an “it is high” call on home runs, instead of getting all pissy about how his team is losing.

    • http://www.teamnerdrage.com dr mrs the yankee

      Suzyn is annoying and all but she’s been a reporter for a very long time and dealt with a lot of stupidity from macho men, please don’t contribute more to that tally with stupid comments like that.

    • Stryker

      we all know Waldman used to take care of Steinbrenner under the desk if you know what I mean

      do we all know that? i know you’re joking and whatnot, but if someone said the same thing about your sister or mother would you find it just as funny? yes, she had her share of histrionics RE: roger clemens that we all goof on. but to flat out assume she gave sexual favors to ownership to get where she wanted to be is awfully sexist.

      anyway – like an earlier commenter said, i’ve grown fond of hearing sterling call baseball games even if he does a terrible job of it. the yankees, though, believe their extended family as an integral part of the their success and treat them as such. that’s just the way they’ve done things, and as a die hard fan of the team for 18 years i’ve gotten used to that.

      if you’re listening on the radio, you obviously can’t see what’s happening. sure, if the radio broadcast was all i had to get my yanks fix, i would wish for someone to give a more accurate and detailed description of the game.

    • jay destro

      Suzyn might not be the best or most tolerable person to listen to, but she’s put her time in more than most of you people who write horsesh*t on blogs. Saying she “took care of” or implying whatever you are simply makes you look like an as*hole. Do me a favor, stop pretending to be clever, turn off the computer and do something that’s more your style. Like sniffing your fingers. It’s going to be more productive than badmouthing a woman who is simply doing her best out there and has been doing it for quite a while.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Mayor of the Draft

      we all know Waldman used to take care of Steinbrenner under the desk if you know what I mean

      What is this, Unfounded Unsourced Character Assassination and Meanspirited Libel Day?

      • http://www.thenovablog.com Jamie

        Its all Goldmans fault.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Mayor of the Draft

          (fighting the urge to make a Ronan Tynan joke)

          • Rick in Boston

            After the last time you tried it? Man that guy was pissed.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Mayor of the Draft

              Yes, he was. Mike had to take my little goof comment down (even though he got the joke and knew I’m not actually anti-Semitic) just to keep the RAB name clean from possible misinterpretation.

              It’s too late, though, the socialist credibility has already been tarnished beyond repair.

              • Rick in Boston

                Are we sure there’s any credibility left?

  • dc1874

    I can remember Sterling back in the 1970′s on WMCA..he had a talk show..he would treat his callers FAR worse then anything Francessa does!!!

  • Beamish

    Sterling is equal parts engaging and infuriating. I really enjoy listening to him calling balls and strikes – he has an excellent cadence and actually makes it seem like the game moves quickly. I see the game instead of hearing him talk…

    Then there is the home-run call or the outrageously over blown call on a routine play that just makes you want to scream at the radio: “IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU JOHN!!!!”

    Seeing that picture does not surprise me at all. The radio announcers are part of the extended team organization since they do work for the team 162 games a year – so his presence is logical. Yet since Sterling so often acts as if it is all about him his appearance cannot help but appear a bit sinister. I would not have been surprised he had shouldered the President aside to get to the mic and say a few things himself.

    • http://www.thenovablog.com Jamie

      Beamish – I couldn’t agree more with your assessment of his calling of balls and strikes… a very valid point that it makes the game sound like its going by faster and more engaging.

      I don’t know if anyone else has experienced this (i’m sure they have but yeah) but for those whom use the In-Market stream… its synched up perfectly (non-HD) with John’s play-by-play if you have gameday opened as well.

      I dont know about everyone else here on RAB, but I would take John ANYDAY over Kay and the Gang in the booth. It really is sad that we don’t have a great TV crew when you really think about it… When the Yanks are on a West Coast trip or have a day off, I watch SNY solely so I can listen to Keith and Darling. They’re unbelievable…too bad they cover….well… the Mets.

      Kay, O’Neill & Cone should have been the permanent team a long time ago. I’d even replace Kay with someone else when it comes to play-by-play (as I sometimes think he’s more pompous than Sterling). I know O’Neill would never do it b/c of the travel involved which really does suck. We all know what happened to Cone….

      • Zack

        Not a fan of Kay, especialy when he’s with O’Neill. Love hearing him talk about batting and the mental preparation going up to the plate in stuff- then Kay has to cut him off and make a comment about what O’Neill was eating earlier.

        I’d love to listen to Singleton + O’Neill + Cone (or Leiter) talk baseball though.

        • Stryker

          before the days of YES when kay was stuck doing radio, singleton and kaat were, hands down, the BEST duo i’ve ever heard.

          • Klemy

            In the words of Dora the Explorer, “I liked that too.” Sorry, my son watches that show too much.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Mayor of the Draft

              What was Dora’s mom’s name? Whora the Explorer?


  • http://twitter.com/rebexarama bexarama

    That picture is never not gonna be hilarious

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Mayor of the Draft

      I like how all three of ‘em (Sterling, ARod, and Jeets) have odd looks on their faces.

      Maybe Obama was in the middle of telling them all that the death panels are real.

      • Rick in Boston

        I thought it was because Obama was reading a translation of Ozzie Guillen’s post-game comments from the night before.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Mayor of the Draft

          That works too.

      • Beamish

        I think he had broccoli for lunch…

  • ARX

    One of these things, is not like the other…

  • Double G

    The one thing that really bothers me about Sterling lately is when an ex-Yankee hits a home run against the Yankees and he goes into his call as if the guy was still in pinstripes and with the same gusto and excitement. Dude, he’s a member of the opposing team, and even if he was beloved while in NY, he just scored runs against the home team. Call it a home run and be done, I don’t want to hear an excited “EL COMO DUCE!” when Abreu goes yard against us. That’s just irritating as all hell.

  • Johnny O

    I don’t blame Sterling for being at the White House. That’s like blaming A-Rod for accepting the contract from the Rangers even though they overpaid him by $70M.

    I DO blame Sterling for being a horrible announcer, not being relevant at all, and providing NO insight into the sport and team I love when I cannot watch them on tv. The only thing he does good is ignore Waldman’s comments which are even worse. With the prestige and ratings associated with being the Yankees radio announcers, they should be able to get the best people in the business. Why we’re subjected to Sterling and Waldman is beyond me.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Mayor of the Draft

      Why we’re subjected to Sterling and Waldman is beyond me.

      Maybe it’s somehow part of Big George’s probation. The Yankees must have horrible announcers, or Selig reinstates Fay Vincent’s lifetime ban of the big fella.

  • CountryClub

    First, I like Sterling. He keeps the games entertaining when you listen on the radio (something I don’t do often anymore).

    Second, why isnt Kay a part of this article? If Sterling didnt belong there (and I’m not saying he did) then neither did Kay. His fat noggin was in every pic I saw too.

    Third, who cares about this? I’m not referring to your article; I’m referring to all the media people that were up in arms about it. The Yanks obviously invited them. That’s all that matters.

    • Beamish

      I think it is not “Sterling should not have been there” – though some feel the same about both Kay and him being present – it is that somehow John Sterling (who, if there were 30 people in the room, was number 29 & 30 with Kay) managed to find a place stand directly behind the President and in front of Jeter and A-Rod.

      As was pointed out it was apparently by height but it certainly does reinforce the image that Sterling makes everything about Sterling and that includes a prime photo spot just behind the President – instead of out on the wings where the radio announcer probably should be.

      • Zack

        So it was done by height, yet it’s still Sterling’s fault for standing where he stood?

        • Zack

          My bad, mis-read it.

      • aldot

        Can’t somebody photoshop it, replace him with Mo and re-post it? Then all’s right with the world.

  • Amol

    Personally, I consider Sterling to be much like the Earth: Mostly harmless. That said, I seem to think he was a lot more bearable when he was paired with Charlie Steiner. Steiner was a true professional, and balanced out Sterling nicely. Replacing him with Waldman seems to have created some sort of self-perpetuating homerism feedback loop resulting in a giant vortex of annoying.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

      Mostly harmless? I live in paralyzing fear of natural disasters and to a slightly lesser extent, poisonous animals. Harmless?!

      But seriously, I did like Steiner quite a bit. I was pretty bummed when he left. But to replace him with Suzyn Waaaaaaaldman is a crime against humanity. Her shrilly, nasally tone bouncing off his vainglorious inaccurate play-calling is too much for me to stand.

      • Rick in Boston

        How pissed off do you think Sterling is about Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS? Every time that clip gets shown, it’s Steiner’s voice on the call, not Sterling.

        • Opus

          There are a ton of classic calls that he missed out on from the pre-Waldman years because the color guy was doing PBP. Boone is the obvious one, but I also remember just about every walk off from the 2001 WS and the Knoblauch/Tino home runs in the 1998 WS.

        • Brian

          I have thought about that, Rick. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that in 2004 Sterling started doing play by play for for every inning. (As opposed to alternating 2 for 2 with Kay / Steiner)

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Mayor of the Draft

        Mostly harmless? I live in paralyzing fear of natural disasters and to a slightly lesser extent, poisonous animals. Harmless?!

        A wind farm? Do you know how dangerous that is? What if it breaks and we have a catastrophic wind spill?

        The last one nearly destroyed New Orleans!


        • Thomas


  • jay destro

    Also be reminded that if the most you people have to kvetch about is john sterling’s friggin head all over the place, man we are having a good season so far.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

      Perspective FTW!

      • http://twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Disagree. This would be a nice reminder to keep things in perspective if anyone was actually not keeping things in perspective in this thread, but I don’t see that happening. Nobody here is bridge-jumping on the Yankees’ season because they don’t like John Sterling.

        • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

          Sure, but there was no mention of bridge-jumping or points of comparison to other posters. Jay said that it’s a sign of good things that we’re even discussing this. I agreed and thought that it’s illustrative of a solid perspective. You’re the only one who’s made any mention of others.

          • http://twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

            I’m pretty sure the most plain and obvious reading of jay’s words, above, are that he’s referring to commenters losing perspective.

            “Also be reminded that if the most you people have to kvetch about…”

            Not a big deal, obviously, but come on. It’s also clear he’s unhappy with this discussion if you look at his other post, above.

            “Suzyn might not be the best or most tolerable person to listen to, but she’s put her time in more than most of you people who write horsesh*t on blogs. [...] Do me a favor, stop pretending to be clever, turn off the computer and do something that’s more your style. Like sniffing your fingers.”

            Nobody’s being crazy and losing perspective here. The commenter above said something stupid and sexist, and should be called out for that, but the very discussion of disliking John Sterling does not infer that those who dislike John Sterling have lost perspective.

            Just my two cents, but I think his comment is of the “don’t complain about anything because the team is doing well so just shut up” variety, but that’s silly. If that was so, then the RABbis should never write anything that concerns a team weakness of negative feelings about anything concerning the organization when the team is playing well. Commenting on disliking John Sterling, in a thread about whether people like or dislike John Sterling, is perfectly reasonable.

            • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

              I suppose we had different interpretations, then. I read it as “we’re having a super awesome year if we’re discussing Sterling’s antics” — obviously we have some issues on the team (as all do), but to me this was just a note that on the grand scheme of things, this illustrates perspective.

              Beyond that, I didn’t infer that anyone had mentioned we couldn’t complain about anything going in regarding the Yankees’ performances. I complain about that as often as anyone here (though hopefully in a constructive sense). It’s healthy to analyze and criticize aspects of the organization. That should be discussed.

              Again, I don’t think we disagree, really.

              • http://twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                Eh, I’m pretty sure we do disagree, but whatever. Nobody gives a shit.

                • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

                  Looking back, there likely is a tone of condescension, which I didn’t take in having not seen the earlier post. So yeah, you’re probably right.

                  • http://twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

                    Whatevs, little ado about nothing.

  • YankeeDudel

    I don’t have a television, so [unfortunately] I listen to Sterling all the time. He was actaully pretty good in the mid to late 90s with Michalel Kay. His calls had not yet become outlandish, they were relatively accurate and the two would often get into interesting managerial/strategy discussions.

    Now, especially with Susan Walsman, they have become painful to listen to. His calls are often inaccurate, there is a lot of dead air time (because Susan doesn’t add anything other than an occasional grunt or “Yes, John”), and his individualized homerun name calls are embarassing. Plus, he doesn’t even do the basic things like announce the score at regular intervals. I generally don’t agree with Mushnick (let’s face it – he’s an a-hole), but he’s not incorrect about Sterling. It’s truly a shame that the best announcers in the city belong to the Mets, hands down.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Mayor of the Draft

      and his individualized homerun name calls are embarassing.


      • Opus

        I admit… I LOL’d.

  • Guest

    Look, John Sterling is what he is. I grew up without cable, so he was a constant companion during my childhood summers. I loved the schtick back then because it was entertaining and I didn’t know better…yet. Of course, I soured a bit on him each year as my understanding of baseball grew and my patience for histrionics (and blatant inaccuracies) shrunk.

    But, you know what, when I look at the whole package, I think I still view him as a net plus. I think radio announcers should provide a bit more “color” than TV announcers for the simple reason that, well, there is no color when you are listening on the radio. You can’t see the players, the field, the zip on the fastball, how far the centerfielder dove to make the catch, etc. Heck, you can’t see anything. All you have got is the radio announcers voice. Consequently, I think TV guys can be a bit more staid because the visuals provide a level of entertainment you just don’t get from radio. Say what you will about Sterling, he certainly provides “color.”

    And finally, the homerun calls. Call them bush-league. Call them cheesy. And yes, you can even call some of the abject failures (“Curtis, you’re something sort of Grandish”…just awful). But I dare you not to smile when he says “Nick…you’re postively…Swishalicious!” Any if the phrase “Bernie goes Boom” doesn’t bring back positive memories…well we’re just not going to see eye to eye here. Sterling brings the stupid (his and Suzyn’s antipathy for “stat-heads” makes me occassionly feel like I’m listening to a flat-earth society meeting); he brings the crazy; he brings the annoying (stop with the singing, stop it); but he also brings the fun and the memorable too.

    In the end, I think we will miss him more when he’s gone than we think. And, if not, at least he’s not Chip Carrey or Joe Buck.


    • Jim

      I agree 100% with everything stated here

    • Dirty Pena

      There are MANY radio announcers who provide “color.” My problem is that there would seem to be plenty of better alternatives. IMO most of his home run calls are completely forced at this point.

      • Guest

        Oh, I’m not in anyway arguing that Sterling is the best. Not by a long shot. There are certainly better options. I’m just saying that he’s not ALL bad. There is some good to go along with his shortcomings (IMO).

  • Michael Kay but not THE

    My issues with this goes back to the Yankee “keys to the city” ceremony where Sterling, Susan, and Kay all were honored like they had something to do with the championship. YES (Sterling is very much a YES employee) likes to take shots at SNY and have the nerve to treat their radio & TV broadcasters like members of the team? Why not honor Paulie, Coney, Leiter, etc too then? The difference there of course would be I wouldn’t care since they actually ARE Yankees.

    • Thomas

      This is just me, but for some reason I would find a keys to the city ceremony/White House trip/Yankees celebration without Michael Kay really weird. I really do see him as the face of the Yankees. Maybe it is because of the YES Network (games, commercials, Centerstage, etc) or how he is often the MC of Yankees events, but I just think he’d have to be there.

      Conversely, I’ve never felt this way about Sterling. I think it would be unfair to have Kay and not him (thus, the Yanks are essentially obligated to have him come), but I wouldn’t find it odd if he wasn’t there.

      But maybe I just have a weird opinion.

  • Thomas

    I recently started hoping that in one of the games against the Angels a Yankee would hit a homer and instead of the standard player home run call (e.g. An A-Bomb from A-Rod), Sterling would just yell “OH OH OH Mike Scioscia Face!!!”

  • http://www.goodgamery.com zep

    He’s still 100% less annoying than Suzyn Waldman…

  • steve s

    Is there any worse column in NY newspapers than Mushnick’s column? He is a mean-spirited bully who writes drivel about most topics and when it comes to Sterling he is unmercifully and constantly up his ass with repetitive drivel. Do you think Mel Allen’s or Red Barber’s or Scooter’s signature calls were any less about “me/me” or less sponsored related (ie. Ballantine Blast) than Sterling’s are? Do you think John Sterling would ever say something as mean-spirited and baseless about Howie Rose as Rose said about Sterling that Mushnick quoted in his article? Do you think Howie Rose’s mindless “put it in the books” call only said when the Mets win is on a higher plane than Sterling’s “the Yankees win call”? Of course Sterling has made mistakes and seems out of it every now and then but he’s called every inning of every Yankee game for over 20 years over the course of one of the greatest eras in Yankee history so for every bullshit mistake moment he has had over that period (as any other announcer I’m sure would have had their share of if they had the same longevity and were given the same scrutiny Sterling has been given) he also has made as many great and memorable calls as anyone who ever broadcasted for the Yankees and I remain a grateful fan and will miss him when he no longer is the voice of the Yankees

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Mayor of the Draft

      Holy run-on sentence, Batman!

      • steve s

        Punctuation does suffer when you get on a roll!

        • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

          As does butter, apparently. No, wait…

    • Elwood

      You do realize Mushnick primary competition, Raissman, is far more bitter, hateful and idiotic towards our team, right? The guy is essentially a fat SNY toadie that spits whenever Lupukia is unavaiable? Mushnick is not perfect but is leaps and bounds from being the crap published from the News everyday.

      • http://steves steve s

        No question Raissman is as big an asshole as they come but his “faux-hip” writing style is so painful to read I can hardly get through his column. At least Mushnick’s writing style isn’t offensive; just what he has to say is. If you go back far enough Mushnick use to write a Dick Young type column that wasn’t bad at all. It’s only since his columns became media critic themed that he disintegrated into the petty vindictive hypocrite and often racist buffoon that he is today.

  • gc

    I’d much rather listen to John Sterling than read Phil Mushnik’s column.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Mayor of the Draft
      • Elwood

        Haven’t been around but have you gotten around making fun of the other side or will you ever riddicule our current adminstration. Ya’know the only folks who stilll use those type of jokes are sad partisan hacks who have sold out their comedic license in favor of the almighty’s approval.

        Hope I’m wrong but I still see you using death panel jokes, did ya ever get to the democratic who thought that island attached to the sea floor was going to sink? or anything out of the mouths of the senate and house leaders? Or are you, tsjc, limited to comedic ability of a Joy Behar or a Bill Maher? If so, then you should stick to baseball and leave your left wing yucks on the bench.

        Hope ya prove me wrong, but I know a cheap insult or stern warning is the only possibility. You’re smarter than this, tsjc, but I’m losing hope on that idea.

  • Dirty Pena

    Aren’t there plenty of radio and TV announcers that are universally liked by their fans? I don’t understand why the wealthiest franchise in baseball can’t have that.

    • Dirty Pena

      Almost every comment in support of Sterling is like, “Yeah he’s annoying but…” or “yeah his home run calls suck but…” or “Yeah he sucks but he’s better than (insert TV guy)” I feel like Sterling would rank pretty low on the list of radio guys nationally.

  • Esd

    Hey, Sterling did the team a big favor standing there.
    Because if he wasn’t there, then you know everybody would be complaining that A-Rod has no place standing right behind the President next to Jeter because he’s not a true Yankee and that Cervelli should have been standing there instead.

  • Manhattan Matt

    While I absolutely cannot stand John Sterling and think he is a buffoon, I really don’t see the problem with this. I don’t think he planned to be standing right behind the President and as the post mentioned it was just luck of the draw based on height. That being said I can’t wait for the day when Yankee fans can give our own call on his last trip out of the ballpark, “high…far…GONE.”

    • Jammy Jammers

      Since he didn’t win anything and didn’t play a second of baseball in 2009 for the Yankees, he should have had class and stepped aside. He should have said ‘Hold on this isn’t right. Let me get out of the way.’

  • tommydee2000

    How about this set-up?: “Thuh-uh-uh pitch…”

    It drives me insane. On every single pitch!

    I have XM in the car, so I pray for the road feed.

  • Jammy Jammers

    The author is correct. Sterling makes it all about himself. It’s always all about him.
    As a Yankees fan I am embarrassed that he is our radio guy.
    He had nothing to do with the Yankees winning. He *should* have enough class to realize it and stay out of the way. After years of data we already know he has no class.

    Phil Mushnik is a horrible douche as well.

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    It’s not like he invited himself, right?

    If so, I’m inviting myself for 2010.

    • Jose

      It wouldn’t be the first time someone invited themselves to the White House.


      Tareq Salahi

  • RL

    Although I haven’t been in NY for a few years, I believe I’d rather listen to Sterling/Waldman on radio that put up with Jon Miller & Joe Morgan on ESPN TV.

  • Anksy

    I cant even listen to him in the car anymore. I’ve almost driven off the road so many times getting excited over his non-homerun homerun calls during the playoffs. Maybe they can make him do a shot every time he makes that mistake.

    “Take over for me Suzyn, I’m in the bag.”

  • DSFC

    I’ve never really cared about Sterling’s silly antics. I just wish he’d pay more attention to the damn game rather than rambling on about god knows what.

  • http://www.pinstripepalace.blogspot.com Brien Jackson

    This controversy is pretty dumb. If he was told to stand there and he was standing where he was told, that’s basically the end of it. Maybe the person organizing the shot should have thought it was stupid for the radio guy to be right in the middle, but it’s not on Sterling for standing where he was told to.

    As for his radio performance, meh. I find the more I occassionally listen to radio broadcasters with Gameday the more I pick them apart. I used to love Marty Brennamen as a kid, but listening t him last week I realized he doesn’t know 10% as much about baseball as he thinks he does, and he’s mostly just a cantankerous asshole. Sterling’s calls and antics annoy me, but on the other hand my 7 year old stepson absolutley loves him. It’s literally his favorite thing about listening to/watching baseball at this point. And I will grant that I enjoy his cadence on balls and strikes, and I do think he has a very enjoyable voice. So whatever, I guess I’m the agnostic guy on Sterling.

    • Klemy

      This. Well said.

    • Poopy Pants

      It really is on Sterling. Maybe the idiot who organized the shot was not a sports fan and had no idea who he was. Maybe they thought he was an owner or something. Or (most likely) they didn’t give a shit because competition and money are evil.
      Sterling should have the humility to realize he’s not on the team and he hasn’t won a damn thing. I would be embarrassed to be standing where he is knowing I haven’t done anything to deserve it.

  • larryf

    In the mid-late 70′s Sterling was the voice of the WHA NY Raiders who played hockey at MSG. His calls of “Raider Goal, Raider Goal, Raider Goal” were the forerunner of Thuuuhhh Yankees Winnnn!!!!

    IIRC. there were young kids with him during the world series victory parade last year. If they were his, I’m afraid Sterling ain’t going anywhere for awhile.

  • larryf

    BTW, Jeter and Arod sure look sharp in those LDS suits :-)

  • All Praise Be To Mo

    Cage match for worst announcer: Sterling vs. Tim McCarver vs. Joe Morgan vs. Joe Buck, who wins? Or are we all losers for at least one of them surviving?

    • Jammy Jammers

      What a nightmare.

  • Paul

    Sterling is an appalling embarrassment, but what everyone is forgetting is that Waldman is a complete disgrace! We have a woman who never played professional baseball, who is near 60, and who has the thickest Boston accent imaginable broadcasting Yankee games and no one has a problem with this? The Yanks are such a first-class organization how can they allow this? These two are so out-of-touch its unbelievable to me. I bought at-bat 2010 just so I could listen to the away team’s radio broadcast. Terrible.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      …who never played professional baseball…

      For proof that playing professional baseball does not qualify you to be a good broadcaster, see John Kruk, Joe Morgan, Tim McCarver, Paul O’Neill, anyone on Baseball Tonight, etc.

      Here’s my take on the Waldman breakdown: A fan either doesn’t like her simply because she’s a woman or doesn’t like her because, similar to John Sterling, she isn’t the most accurate play-by-play broadcaster, she’s a bit too much of a homer and she wears her pro-Yankee emotions on her sleeve. But if it’s the former, just say it. Being an ex-player or not doesn’t really matter because she’s certainly seen enough baseball to be qualified to comment on it. Whether or not she’s good at that is a different story.

      • Paul

        True – I guess where I was really going is that she will say things like “when a ball is hit in the gap in this park, you need to pay particular attention to how it caroms off the wall and where your cutoff man is because its critical to…”. How the hell does she know how the ball caroms off the wall in that park? I guess that combined with the ridiculous accent and the broadway show references and the emotion just makes my skin crawl.

        • Rob H.

          Again, why does she have to be a former player at any level to talk about things like that? I still don’t get why that is an issue. She can easily have that knowledge by talking to players and doing research, both of which are part of her job. You don’t have to play the game to understand those types of things.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Mayor of the Draft

          I guess where I was really going is that she will say things like “when a ball is hit in the gap in this park, you need to pay particular attention to how it caroms off the wall and where your cutoff man is because its critical to…”. How the hell does she know how the ball caroms off the wall in that park?

          Paul Begala: Ronald Reagan blamed Jimmy Carter every day. Every day.
          Meghan McCain: You know, I wasn’t born yet, so I don’t know [about that].
          Begala: I wasn’t born during the French Revolution, but I know about it…


          • deadrody

            Uh, by watching ?

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Mayor of the Draft


              I’ve never been hit in the chest with a cannonball, but I’ve seen footage of it. I’ve got a pretty good idea of what happens when you get hit in the chest with a cannonball.

          • Elwood

            Begala? really, you are using him for a source? And McCain is just a joke to all in politics. Oh, and how much respect do you have for the fair Huffington madam, herself? Poor, tsjc, limited to getting info from the likes of Paul Begala? Do you want to quote the brilliant Rick Sanchez or Larry King? Seriouslly, Begala- pathetic. What’s next? Will you be referencing Maddow, Matthews or Schuster?

            • Rob Has No Innings Limit

              Elwood, do you have some grudge against tsjc? Did he ask you if your mother was a prostitute? I’m trying to figure out this whole irrational hatefest you’ve been assailing him with tonight. Your goin’ all Dallas Braden on us, man.

              As foolish as you think tsjc looks in his comments, lambasting him in retaliation just makes you more the fool.

  • Lee

    There are obviously plenty of us that listen to John Sterling. I happen to live in Colorado and get the MLB TV package and there is no pregame so I listen to him before each game. I also listen to him when the TV broadcast is carried by the opposing team. I watch the TV and listen to the radio at the same time and so I see if he accurately calls the games, which as much as anyone, he does.

    I can say with certainty that he knows “The game is about the guys on the field; it’s not about him.” He seems to fall in the same category as A-Rod when it comes to taking shots. Having lived in NY back during the 70s championships, I know how spoiled you local fans are. I appreciate all the blogs and broadcasts and see no reason to complain.

    “Live from New York, It’s New York Yankees Baseball” Music to my ears!

  • Doug in Cape Coral

    Wow, a little flair has the number-crunching, pencil-necked geeks that make up the staff of Riveraveblues in a tizzy. It’s radio, man, and over-the-top works.

    As far as the mistake factor — and Sterling misses fly balls a plenty — the percentage is still better than the Blues’ predications (and Cashman). Get the slide rules out, boys: We heard Nick Johnson over Damon in the Two Hole; we heard Granderson over the Yanks top prospect; we heard the Blue Crew lament the Bombers current top hitter.

    Go pick on another icon ’cause you may one day hear from Mr. Sterling: “It’s the Blue from River Avenue. P.U.”

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Mayor of the Draft

      Nothing that you just said made any sense.

    • sciorsci

      We heard Nick Johnson over Damon in the Two Hole

      How about some context? You heard Nick Johnson at $5MM over Damon at $13MM+ in the two hole.

      we heard Granderson over the Yanks top prospect

      Who preferred Granderson over Montero? And since when was Montero even a viable candidate for CF?

  • Chris

    I enjoy listening to him, the few chances I get (I usually watch on YES). He’s fun to listen to. Why shouldn’t he be there? I don’t see the problem at all.

    • Poopy Pants


  • deadrody

    Ok, say it with me… Occam’s Razor. He ended up there out of pure chance. Yes I’m sure you can picture Sterling elbowing his way past ARod and Jeter. Are you kdding me you dopes ?

  • Chris Hurney

    I’ve said it a MILLION TIMES!!! I always hear Phil’s and Michael Kay’s names dragged into the conversation by Sterling apologists. The differences were huge. Kay may be “intoxicated with the exuberance of his own verbosity” but at least he strikes you as a regular approachable guy. Rizzuto was over-the-top in an endearing folksy way. Sterling is bombastic, flamboyant, and annoying! The Yankees come from a rich history of BASEBALL-MEN in the booth, knowledgeable, yet “regular Joes” in either TV or radio media. Sterling with his double-breasted suits and handkerchiefs in the vest pocket and the silly theatrics comes off as a poor man’s Robin Leach.

    And let’s not let Suzy off the hook. AT LEAST Charlie Steiner was able to rein in Sterling’s bombast somewhat – Suzy feeds into it, and the duo seem more like an old-time duo (minus the comedy) confused about who the straight-man is and who the comic is.

  • yankeefanindc

    “Therein lies the rub. John Sterling is, for better or worse, a member of the Yanks’ extended family, but he comes across as thinking that his histrionics are responsible for the team’s success.”

    Yeah. Wait, what? Do you really believe this or is this hyperbole? He’s the radio man who is doing the sort of thing radio men do. You’re the blog with more sophisticated analysis. Why do you need to bash John Sterling? Visceral dislike is one thing. Ridiculous exaggerations of John Sterling’s motives are sillier than John Sterling’s actual persona. My god, get over it. I highly doubt he actually views himself as equal to a player. Don’t listen if you don’t like him. Very simple solution.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      See here. I wasn’t clear on the sourcing, but this isn’t just my opinion. It comes from conversations with people who have met Sterling in various capacities.

  • Jeffrey Berkin

    I would like to add my name to those who loathe John Sterling as an announcer. His theatrics whenever a Yankee does something good are obnoxious and insulting to professional announcers, past and present. I remember Mel Allen and Red Barber. They, too, had their stock phrases, but they were entertaining. Sterling is just a stuffed shirt. Does the Yankee brass feel this constant ego-massaging is necessary? I say tell him don’t be a conceited fool, or you’re fired!